Turkey orders opposition channel off air for a week

Turkey orders opposition channel off air for a week
Merdan Yanardag, the editor of Tele1, was arrested by Turkish authorities, and the channel has been ordered off the air for a week.
1 min read
Tele1 editor Merdan Yanardag was arrested by Turkish authorities. (Getty Images)

Turkey's media regulator on Thursday ordered an opposition channel off the air for a week for comments made by its chief editor about jailed Kurdish militant Abdullah Ocalan.

Tele1 editor Merdan Yanardag was arrested and put in pre-trial detention on June 27 for allegedly spreading "terrorist propaganda" and "praising criminals" on air.

Yanardag questioned why Ocalan -- who headed an insurgency waged by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) until his capture by Turkish forces in 1999 -- was still being held in solitary confinement on a prison island in the Sea of Marmara.

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Yanardag was detained by police within hours of making the comments. He was formally arrested and charged the following day.

The editor's lawyers and political supporters argue that prosecutors took his comments out of context.

They claim that the prosecutors' case was built on purposely misleading clips of Yanardag's television appearance that were being spread on online by pro-government "trolls".

Tele1 is a leftist opposition channel that was one four media outlets fined for their coverage of Turkey's May general election.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the opposition of backing Kurdish "terrorists" during the hard-fought